We had the good fortune of connecting with Megumi King and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Megumi, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Finding the balance between working and relaxing can be difficult, especially if you struggle with building habits. I personally swing back and forth a lot between being obsessed with being as productive as possible, and completely slacking off. I’ve always loved reading about topics that interested me so I naturally gravitated to more academic hobbies. And then due to some difficult experiences in middle school, I poured all of my attention and focus into studying to deal with my circumstances. However, this lifestyle couldn’t maintain itself and I discovered a new problem: I didn’t know how to relax.

Now for context, I had started taking dual enrollment courses in my freshman year of high school since it had been a long time goal of mine. I absolutely loved the college environment and thrived under the structure it provided. I continued this program while doing virtual high school even when I moved outside of the US for the first time (which was a huge change for me), however, in order to stay in the program I needed to pass the math portion of their admission exam and I happened to miss it by one point, which caused me not to get approved for the spring semester of 2021.

I was devastated, since going to college was a huge part of identity. I prided myself on my success and if I wasn’t doing the thing that made me successful, then was I even a success? Thankfully, my father noticed that I had been a *teensy* bit too obsessed over it and suggested that I take the semester off to learn how to relax. Initially, I was insulted. Did he think that I was so incapable that I couldn’t even do something as simple as enjoying my time off? (Spoiler: he was absolutely right). So after giving it some thought and with more encouragement from my parents, I relented. I would take the semester off from all of my courses (both high school and college) and relearn what I liked to do to enjoy myself.

Now before anyone gets all uptight, I was already almost a year ahead in credits for high school so my education was not severely affected by taking this semester off. I used this time to heal from a lot of what happened to me in middle school, and I felt free to research whatever I wanted. I took a course in fashion design, got back into piano, and was able to rediscover my love of photography.

All these interests were something I wouldn’t have been able to rediscover if it weren’t for my time off. I was able to learn about what I loved without the pressure of a grade or deadline looming over me. I felt free even though I never felt restricted before. I had a new group of friends as well who helped me learn how to relax and be myself. With these influences, I was able to shift my balance away from an academics obsessed workaholic to someone whose worth wasn’t attached to their achievements.

Today, I try to keep that balance. While I’m now a dual enrollment student again and enrolled in a physical public high school for the first time, I still feel more freedom than I used to. I know where my limits are and I take breaks before I reach them. Finding healthy ways to relax and having a clear sense of self-worth makes it a lot easier as well. Getting to this balance wasn’t easy but it was absolutely worth the struggle. I encourage you to take steps today, and find your balance as well!

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started my blog in the summer of 2020 without much direction or guidance. I had been searching for people like me who were dual enrolled and/or trying to start college early without much luck. So I decided to start thegradebgenius in a hopes that I’d attract people who fit those categories while offering support to those who were considering dual enrollment. I had never anticipated being where I am now. I wrote a couple articles talking about how I started dual enrollment and tips for those who were just beginning. And if I’m being completely honest, I was rather satisfied with that. I had been struggling a lot with my mental health so I was only doing what I was able to at the time. However, it wasn’t until my first YouTube video that I began to reach more people.

So I gradually switched over to vlogging more as well as utilizing Instagram and Pinterest. I struggled a lot since I didn’t know what I was doing any of the platforms and just hoped that it would take off on its own. And naturally, it didn’t at first. It wasn’t until I realized I could help people with questions that I used to have that I started taking it more seriously. While it’s still definitely a hobby and not my job, I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with dualenrollment.co and answer some questions about dual enrollment via DM’s. I’ve also come to enjoy vlogging as well and discovered a love for video editing and production. I’m hoping to use digital storytelling more often as I transition from high school onward.

I’ve had thegradebgenius for almost two years now and I’ve learned so much. I struggled with posting consistently and generating content since I didn’t think too much about my audience initially. I also felt like I needed to put on a persona or be “Influencer Meg” when that’s not really what I’m like. And while I’m still far from my ideal platform now, I’m certainly a lot closer than when I started. Even though my content will change after I graduate since I’ll no longer be a dual enrollment student, I’ll still always be Meg.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
While I’m still relatively new to the area, there are a few places I do love to visit!

Firstly is Asian Vegan Bistro, a little restaurant that has amazing food. I’ve had a love for Asian cuisine (especially Japanese) since my trip to Japan in 2019. Plus as a vegan, it can be hard to find good food outside of home without being insanely expensive.

Second is Wind Wolves Nature Preserve. It was one of the first places I visited upon my arrival to Bakersfield and the mountains and wildlife are just breathtaking. They have great trails as well as a field of wildflowers that are absolutely gorgeous in the spring!

And lastly is Hart Park, a park that has places you can pan for gold and look for shark teeth! I went on my first “hike” there (if you could even call it that) and the view is amazing. I find it just challenging enough of a climb for my inactive self and it’s definitely good for bike riding as well.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d really like to thank my family for supporting me. Whether it be looking over my essays for my classes or helping me get the best footage for my vlogs, I really appreciate all of their help!

And special thanks to Chloe for proofreading!

Website: thegradebgenius.com

Instagram: @thegradebgenius

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/thegradebgenius

Other: www.etsy.com/shop/thegradebgenius

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.